Tuesday, January 6, 2009

10 things to make your child an achiever

Don’t we always believe that we are blessed with a super kid who is going to be the next “tennis sensation” or “fastest pianist” or “youngest entrepreneur”? Well, let me assure you that there’s no need to believe others who would rather not have you think so…here are some tips for raising your super kid:

  1. Feed him right – Have you heard the quote – “We are what we eat”. Well, it’s true. Be sure to refer to diet chart that not only explains the food pyramid on carbohydrate to fat to protein ratio, but also what foods to eat/not eat at particular times. Age old Ayurveda is a good reference point to know which foods should not be eaten in combination eg. curd and mango, which foods are best consumed at what time of the day eg. fruits before sunset and which foods to eat in which season eg. dry fruits in winter.
  2. Let him be himself – Do not force him to be left or right handed. Respect the way he is, let him believe in himself and also encourage age-appropriate independence eg. expect a 5 year old to know how to tie his shoelace.
  3. Teach music at a young age – The right kind of music is known to have a calming effect on children. It also helps to raises sensory prowess. It is advisable to expose a child to start learning to play a musical instrument by age 4-5 years.
  4. Psyche him with positive sentences – Whenever he watches an athlete cross the finish line to become first – tell him that he needs to do the same; when there is a singer performing on stage, tell him he needs to sing the same way; while watching a tennis star on TV, tell him that he needs to play the same way.
  5. Use both left and right brain - Expose him to extra curricular activities that use both the left and right brain. It is believed and found to be true after scientific research that brain cells that are not utilized, die. By age 14, all areas of brain that we have not been able to use become unusable – they rust. So teach your kid to do math AND art, chess AND as painting, sports AND reading. This will ensure that he is using both the emotional side of the brain, as well as the fact based side.
  6. Promote physical and mental activity– This is to ensure that both motor and sensory skills get developed. A child needs to start by writing with jumbo crayons, and only later should he be asked to graduate to a pencil. It is incorrect to let a 2-3 year old, write with a pencil – the motor skills are not developed to use it then. To foster development of motor skills, stringing beads together, picking up and placing huge wooden blocks, form part of Montessori teaching. Taking your child to a park to run around and play is as important as making him do his letters or numbers.
  7. Create a healthy atmosphere – It is important to create a conducive atmosphere at home. Eg. Use bright colors on the walls of the room, put up fresh flowers, make him listen to inspirational and divine songs – like Gayatri Mantra. Just like we try to dim or switch off the lights when going to bed and pull away the curtains to start the day in the morning, the right atmosphere fosters exceptional results.
  8. Try to teach him yourself – even if you were not the best at Geography while at school, make an attempt to spend time with maps yourself. Studies reveal that kids grasp better if they are taught by people they know and trust – and who could be better at it than parents. The expert, expensive tutor might seem the best Subject Matter expert, but if Mom/Dad teach him, he is likely to grasp and retain it. This holds good for studies as well as extra curricular activities such as sports and art.
  9. Create a Time Matrix – Plan the day and week while always leaving some time for recreation. It feels great to tick off items in your shopping list, right? Just as it gives you a sense of accomplishment to tick off tasks completed, planned time table and striking off activities completed, will give your child a sense of control and achievement.
  10. Listen, listen, listen – Parents tend to always keep giving advice, scold and explain to their kids. It’s more often than not a one-sided conversation with kids. It’s actually better if you can let him talk and you just listen - not hear, mind you - listen. Give your child undivided attention when he is telling you how he turned around a football match or how she recited a long poem in class and won the adulation of school mates. It will help build confidence in your child.

Here are the Top 10 things to make your child an achiever – happy super-parenting!

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